A spinal cord injury refers to any damage that affects the nerve roots throughout the spine and impairs the body’s ability to communicate with the brain. In most cases, spinal cord injuries result in irreversible paralysis (loss of movement) and loss of sensation below the point of injury. Spinal cord injuries may be caused by a range of factors, including:

  • blood vessel defects
  • developmental or neurodegenerative disorders
  • malignancies
  • medical malpractice (especially during the birthing process)
  • multiple sclerosis
  • obstructed blood flow to the spine and its surrounding organs
  • stroke
  • sudden trauma, which can result from a car accident, a fall, a stab wound or a gun shot wound

Although there is no cure for many spinal cord injuries, researchers are investigating new treatment methods. Currently, treatments for spinal cord injuries revolve around improving a patient’s quality of life and helping him/her to live as independently as possible.

Symptoms of Spinal Cord Injuries

The specific symptoms a patient will experience will depend on the nature and severity of the injury as well as whether the injury is:

  • Complete: total feeling and function is lost in some part of the body; or
  • Incomplete: partial feeling or function is maintained in the affected area

Spinal cord injuries that affect all or part of the lower body (the legs, trunk and pelvic organs) are referred to as paraplegia. Those that affect the body below the neck (the arms, trunk, pelvic organs and legs) are known as tetraplegia or quadriplegia.

In addition to loss of movement and sensation, other symptoms of spinal cord injuries may include:

  • an inability to control urination and/or the bowels
  • changes in sexual function or sensitivity
  • exaggerated reflexes
  • extreme pressure in the back, neck or head
  • infertility
  • lack of coordination
  • muscle spasms
  • numbness and/or weakness in the affected area
  • pain at the site of the injury (due to nerve damage)
  • problems breathing, swallowing or coughing
Help For Victims of Spinal Cord Injuries

It’s essential that injured parties seek emergency medical treatment to prevent further, potentially fatal complications. Depending on the type and severity of the condition, patients may need:

  • surgery
  • medications to manage pain and minimize muscle spasms
  • physical therapy
  • assistive technologies, such as wheelchairs or voice-activated computer programs
  • exercise
  • experimental treatments (Clinical trials for spinal cord injuries are currently researching a number of new, potentially beneficial treatments)

Have you or a loved one recently been diagnosed with a spinal cord injury? If so, the highly qualified personal injury attorneys at Gacovino, Lake & Associates welcome you to attend a complimentary initial consult to find out if you have a legal claim and are entitled to compensation for your injuries and losses. We will investigate the details of your injury to determine what happened and why, and will fight tirelessly to ensure you recover the compensation you need and deserve.